Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 209/365 Thanks For the Memories

After two days of internet car shopping at somewhere like a thousand dealerships, scouring safety ratings for various cars, and researching mileage ratings -we found the Daughter a new(to us) car. Spent all day yesterday at the dealer, and went back this morning to take the trade-in, and pick up the rookie.

The rookie is nice: safe and reliable, shiny and new in all the right places, great mileage and more than enough air bags to make this mother happy. But it's got a long way to go before it fills the shoes of its predecessor.

The car above - a 1986 Nissan Maxima - was in our family for 24 years. It was a one owner vehicle, until my mother trusted it enough to give to her only grandchild for a first car. It was an amazing car that ended up running 225,000 miles. It was alive. Plus it talked.

After 24 years, the trim started to fall off in one spot.

The front driver's headlight had to be periodically drained of rain water (but it worked fine with or without water).

It still had a cassette player, and only got two radio stations...

Because the automatic antenna was disconnected by my dad several years ago when it started sticking.

And it's biggest fault was what you don't see here: no cupholders. Not a one. No one drank in 1986 apparently.

The air conditioner was just replaced for the second time a couple months ago, but the button that controlled it worked sporadically.

The drivers arm rest was just super glued in place on Monday, and while it looks to be normal length here, it's actually designed for Japanese arms (like the amount of leg and head room, which is bad when two out of three people in a family are over 6').

This is the gas cap. It's literally chained to the car because my dad got tired of me borrowing the car and leaving the gas caps behind at the gas station. This car also had a peculiar fume filter mechanism that only allowed the gas to pump into the tank s-l-o-w-l-y ....meaning it took awhile to fill the tank, and pumping was really an acquired skill.

When Daughter got the car, the first thing she did was put bumper stickers on it (much to my dad's dismay -he is a non-bumper sticker person). Women in our family are not at all well-behaved, so my mother thought the bumperstickers were a great idea.

This one got us in trouble sometimes, and other times, helped us out. (One of the salesmen at a dealer yesterday actually took a look at our Obama sticker, and *increased* the price of the vehicle we were looking at. Yes, that's the kind of redneck county we live in.)

And this one doesn't help any either, but it keeps the locals on their toes.

The Maxima got great gas mileage, even if the gas gauge is right next to the voltage meter, and it took me forever to realize I was looking at the wrong gauge, and that we did not always have a half tank of gas (realized this on a 6-lane interstate near Newport News, with no exits or gas stations in sight).

The Maxima was top of the line in technology in 1986 - it has a nifty keyless entry that was coded, as well as side headlights that came on whenever you made a turn at night, illuminating the road in front as well as the road you were turning into. It was a heavy car, constructed when steel was actually steel, and it held the road in flash floods and on solid glare ice, on mountain roads. When everyone else was in the ditch, we were on the road, shiny side up, moving right along.

And it had the Voice.

Just like Kit in the Knight Rider - the Maxima talked. Always calm and collected, she told us when the "right door is open" or "key is in the ignition". That voice came out of nowhere, and startled all the mechanics except for her personal physician Robert, who never let anyone else work on her when she was in the shop.

On the way to the dealer this morning, we stopped to drop off a videogame. She ran fine, until I tried to restart her, and then she was completely dead. She KNEW that we were about to turn her in at the dealer for a younger model. Fortunately my husband came with his car and jumped the battery (which is almost new, and had nothing wrong with it). The Maxima started up, having sent us the message that she was perfectly aware of what was going on.

We haven't broken the news to Robert the mechanic yet. I guess we'll have to take the rookie around and introduce her eventually. She's got a long ways to go though.

Being shiny and new isn't everything. You've got to earn your spot in the family.


  1. The end of an era! I agree with you about lots of airbags though!
    Love the Darwin sticker!!

  2. Bye, bye Miss Maxima! You've been a good and faithful servant!

  3. Ms. Maxima. She's a freewheeling, liberated sort of car.

  4. So sad,so true, so life! Love your blog. I feel like I know your car as a friend. (lol)

  5. Just found you via Pioneer Woman and boy am I glad I did.... I just laughed so loud my downstairs neighbor hollered up at me asking what I watching on tv !?!?! I loved your comment about no one drinking in their cars in 1986. Thanks for the laugh, can't wait to read more.